Beautiful Weekend in Stowe, Vermont

I feel like I went to Narnia this weekend.

I was only gone with my family for 36 hours, but I feel like I was away for a week! After finals ended on Thursday night, I stayed with my parents at their hotel, since Friday required an early morning wake-up call for my brother’s graduation.

I went to bed past midnight and somehow got myself to roll out of bed at 5:35 AM (mostly because I needed to pee), so I hit up the hotel gym for a super quick workout. My hair was still in nightmare world and my eye bags were fluffier than my pillow.

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2 minute warmup + 16 minute HIIT (24 rounds of 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest) + stretching:

  • burpees
  • side jump lunges
  • DB clean and jerks (20# DBs)
  • tricep dips/spiderman planks
  • tuck jumps
  • split jack lunges/alternating reverse lunges (20#)

The ‘rents and I got dressed up and headed to TD Garden (home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics!) for the graduation. The arena doesn’t allow outside food or drink, so we made sure to eat a good meal before being in there for 6+ hours. Subway looked like the best option at 7 AM.

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egg white, cheese, veggie on honey oat

But since we got to the arena two hours early to get good seats, I was hungry by the time commencement started, so I bit the bullet and bought FIVE DOLLAR in-shell peanuts to tide me over. It was either those or hot dogs for $4. Hot dogs in the morning. Need I explain my decision?

Anyway, the commencement was just peachy. Their speaker was US Secretary of State, John Kerry! His best line that made the crowd go wild was: “You are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

Congratulations, Ben + Northeastern Class of 2016!

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Afterwards, we were so ready for lunch. I got a Thai chicken salad with some sort of sweet dressing that was delicious.

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We filled our bellies and then promptly hit the road for Stowe, VT for a little family weekend getaway.

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We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which was just gorgeous. The skies were a bit gloomy, but there are some awesome mountains behind those clouds.

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The resort itself was huge and beautiful as well. It was such a labyrinth to walk through. We felt like we we walked at least a quarter of a mile just to get to our room!

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Since we arrived pretty late, we bolted for the hotel restaurant for dinner before it closed. ‘Twas a convenient but pricey decision.

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mason jars ♥︎ 

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salad with pistachios, cranberries, and grilled chicken

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apple crisp a la mode

The room had a kitchen and some artsy, rustic cutlery. A blogger’s dream.

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Ben: “Should I model it?”

Saturday was a near perfect day in my book. I slept in and then started the day with a banana and some nuts and a workout at the {amazing} hotel gym.

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dynamic warmup + 3 rounds of:

  • 15 close-grip DB chest press
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 clean and jerks

+ playing around on the Pilates ladder barrel

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Then we brunched at a local place called McCarthy’s. Super Irish, which is perfect as I prepare to study abroad in Dublin this fall 🙂

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I ordered the French toast special with two sunny eggs + bacon. Everything breakfast should be. {Side note: I decided not to bring my peanut butter on this vacation because I thought I should try to detach myself, haha.}

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I also shared a very decent portion of my mom’s Irish home fries and corned beef. KILLER.

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Ben and I dropped off our parents back at the resort and then headed out on an expedition to Stowe Pinnacle!

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I would say I built this, but that would be a lie

It was about 1.65 miles going up, and the incline wasn’t crazy steep, but it was, as Ben put it, persistent. ‘Twas a fab idea to have such a hearty, fatty meal an hour before this. We made it to the summit in pretty good time though— approximately 50 minutes.

Boy, was this view worth it.

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It was pretty comparable to the glorious view from Bear Peak in Colorado a year ago, except this time I could breathe because we weren’t at high altitude.

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There were these two golden retrievers up at the summit that were old, fat, and adorable. We couldn’t tell if they belonged to anyone in particular, but all they wanted was to be loved by all the people who made it to the summit.

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freakin’ regal

We trekked back down the mountain, which is less physically challenging but definitely more technically challenging in terms of not falling off the face of the mountain. I only slipped and fell on my butt once going downhill, which is on par for me. I really need to wear the hiking shoes I have.

When we got back to the road, Ben and I went on a quest for a maple “creemee” per my friend Courtney’s suggestion. A creemee is special Vermont soft serve ice cream. Unfortunately, we could not find a place that was open and selling maple creemees. Unlike other cities we’re used to, Stowe actually closes shops seasonally *gasp*.

Instead, Ben stopped for a craft beer and we took a Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Not a bad detour!

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I got their banana peanut butter frozen Greek yogurt because that epitomizes my food choices // Ben got strawberry cheesecake and Spectacular Speculoos (so good!)

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Ben and… Allie’s?

What a great post-hike snack 🙂

We went back to the hotel, showered, and then headed to dinner with our parents at the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, the von Trapps from Sound of Music!).

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spring vegetable salad with an amazing yogurt sauce + some of my mom’s pancetta-wrapped chicken thigh and quinoa + a bite of Ben’s wiener schnitzel

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roasted carrots for the table to share

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cheese plate

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the BEST apple strudel a la mode! 

Full and oh so content.

Sunday (Mother’s Day!) started with Mass and breakfast at Cafe on Main. I was in the mood for a good sandwich instead of breakfast food, so I went for the turkey club. Tasty!

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Then we walked downstairs to the quaint Stowe Mercantile store, where I freaked out over their local peanut/almond butters.

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May or may not have bought three jars.

Four hours later, we were back in Boston, where Ben and I unloaded/loaded some things from our places. We ended our family time with a late lunch at Super 88! All I wanted was crunchy, fresh vegetables, so I ordered the tofu and vegetable rice noodle soup. Hit the spot so good!

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And then the fam parted ways. I’m back in Boston for one more week, which means lots of oatmeal for meals, which is perfectly fine with me!

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THIS WAS SO LONG. But hey, thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far, consider yourself bear-hugged.

Hope you all have a magnificent Monday! I am grateful for YOU.

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Vermont?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor!

Have you ever fallen on a hike?

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Sick Day Eats

In the past four days, I have only left the house to go to church, the grocery store, and the train station.

I wish I could say I’ve gone on some fun hometown excursions with friends, but alas, I have come down with something. I’ve had flu-like symptoms, but nothing too serious. Just enough to make me want nothing but sleep, soup, and bread. (I just looked back at a post at this exact time last year, and I was sick, haha.)

It’s weird that I don’t have a million things to do, people to see, and places to walk. Nevertheless, I am enjoying this change of pace. I think that’s why I’m sick. Thanks to human physiology, I now understand that my immune system is repressed in times of stress, so when I am no longer stressed, my immune system starts to fight whatever pathogen has been lurking in my body.

I proudly told that to Pop, and he was like, “I know that.”

WELL.

Cooking in the kitchen has also been making me happy. Today I’m sharing my day of eats from Monday. It’s been a mighty long time since I participated in What I Ate Wednesday (aka WIAW aka wheeee-awwww)!

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630 am: Hot honey lemon water

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After I dropped off Pop at the train station, I went to the grocery store to get some lemons. All my throat wanted was some hot honey lemon water, and boy was it soothing.

9 am: Green overnight oat smoothie

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Festive, yeah? The night before, I put into a blender:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 HUGE tbsp. peanut butter (so like, 2 tbsp. probably)
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Stirred it together straight in the blender and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I added another splash of milk, a frozen banana, and lots of spinach. Blend, pour into a bowl, top with granola, eat with a spoon.

1 pm: Avocado, cheddar, egg, mustard sandwich

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I went on a 20 minute run jog around the neighborhood before I decided that I was very done. I had worked out the night before, so I was sore and also achy from being sick. Thus, I came home and made this beautiful thing. I even got fancy and broiled the cheese on the toast. DREAMY.

I also ate some colorful pomegranate seeds and carrots with hummus.

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A package came in the mail during lunchtime that included no-bake balls from Arman, so I obviously had to try one. I think this was a cinnamon bun no-bake bite. Basically everything good all rolled into a convenient ball. Thank you so much, Arman!

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5 pm: Nuts

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Balls and nuts, good. (12 year-old boy.)

630 pm: Theraflu

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I appreciate that Theraflu makes tasty medicine.

730 pm: Split pea soup, leftover pesto chicken, peppers and hummus

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I made a big batch of slow cooker split pea soup during the day, and it totally hit the spot for dinner. Also, the thought of raw peppers kinda makes me queasy while I’m sick, but I ate them anyway.

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Split pea soup is my FAVORITE soup!

10 pm: More hot honey lemon water

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(I washed my mug between uses :)) I think I might even have hot honey lemon water even when I’m not sick. It’s so comforting yet refreshing from the zing of lemon. At the same time though, I might want to keep it as a sick day “treat”. Kind of like mom’s chicken noodle soup, ya know? Maybe. I dunno.

Two more days until Christmas!!! It’s 60 degrees outside right now. It’s like a Florida Christmas or something!

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Go broil some cheese toast.

So tell me:

What do you like to eat or drink when you’re sick?

What is your favorite kind of soup?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten this week? It’s a tie between that sandwich and the split pea soup!

Fall Fever

Nothing like a little fall fever, am I right?

I’m not talking about #pumpkinspicelife fall fever. I’m talking about a legit fever— the illness. This weekend I think I came down with just that, so I took it pretty easy, drank lots of water, and popped cough drops as if I actually needed them.

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hot soup hit the spot

Thankfully, my roommates knew exactly how to take care of me. Jordan gave me some Theraflu (her “drug of choice”), and Rachel made sure that I resisted consuming copious amounts of dairy, despite me wanting ice cream for dessert last night. She also dealt with my melodrama well.

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Besides some strange heart palpitations and achiness, this weekend involved a bunch of great events and even better people.

After lots of human physiology studying, Friday festivities were very much welcomed.

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A bunch of my friends and I attended an a cappella concert featuring a few of our talented friends. I seriously almost cry whenever I hear how beautiful their voices are. Like, how are people so amazing?

just one of the many groups we watched *heart eyes emoji*

Random fact: they gave out free chocolate-covered bacon to a few lucky winners. My friends were among them.

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My voice was giving out on Saturday, which was perfect for a day of touring and Catholic Center Phone-a-thon-ing.

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I left a lot of messages with a voice that sounded like a dying frog, but maybe that will induce pity and bigger donations. Or not.

Many meals and much fellowship took place as well.

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I figured that I should eat a lot of toast while I was sick, but I think I should eat buttered toast more often. I forgot how simple and delicious that stuff is.

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bonus points for cinnamon raisin toast

These past couple of weeks have been filled with midterms for all of us at BU, so we’re just trucking along. Nothing to truly complain about though. God is good!

Also, thank you all for your support and kind words on last week’s post. My relationship with exercise has been a rocky one for the past three years, so although it’s liberating to be free from obsession with exercise, it certainly took work and patience with myself to get to this point. And it’s still not perfect!

If you’re struggling with an unhealthy relationship with exercise, I can honestly say that my best piece of advice is to try decreasing the amount of exercise OR try some less intense but really enjoyable forms of exercise (hiking, walking, yoga, leisurely bike rides) for a month or so.

the gym is unappealing when there’s fresh, crisp fall air #BUmovesandgrooves

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on Oct 23, 2015 at 2:51pm PDT

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Even if you’re not necessarily trying to gain back physical health (like I still am right now), I discovered that these things aid in mental health more than anything. It might help you take a step back from exercise and refocus on other fulfilling things in life. I know it did for me!

As always, I must say that I am not a medical professional, so please take everything with a grain of salt and advice from your own doctors. 🙂

Hope you all have a great week ahead! Take your vitamins and get sleep.

So tell me:

Have you gotten sick recently with the change in weather? 

Are you a fan of a cappella?

Do you like buttered toast?

What did you do this weekend?

Weekend in Charlottesville

The second stop of my final college tour is Charlottesville, and this town has been treating us quite wonderfully so far!

Saturday

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We took the 2.5 hour drive down to Cville from Maryland on Saturday morning. UVA con #1: Distance. It’s a total of 7+ hours away from my NY home, and the road from College Park, MD to Charlottesville is basically a two-lane highway with traffic lights. At least the farm lands on the way were pretty??

After we checked into our hotel, Mom and I searched for food around the UVA campus, naturally. We found a place called Marco and Luca Dumplings, and it had a tiny menu that highlighted their specialty fried pork + scallion dumplings.

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Dumplings to share, my order of the sesame peanut noodles, and mom’s order of the sweet and spicy noodles

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A pork bun to share as well

The noodles were my favorite! They were cold and refreshing for the hot day, and they had the perfect texture. Also, peanut sauce=’nough said.

Next up was lots and lots o’ walking around the UVA campus. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here— 80s and sunny! (Today it’s supposed to be rainy and blah though.) However, the heat is literally a warm welcome to BUGS. The bumble bees here are the size of baby birds. I kid you not.

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After soaking up all the preppy-ness and loveliness of the campus and the Cville-ians, we headed over to the UVA Catholic center/church.

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We ended up hanging out there for a while and then attending the evening Mass for Palm Sunday there.

After walking back to our car, we drove to downtown Charlottesville for dinner at Revolutionary Soup. Kath has recommended it on her blog before, so I was excited to try it!

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To share: asparagus shiitake soup, half size local tofu wrap (local tofu, arugula, tomato, red onion, and fig dijon dressing), half Athens spinach salad (spinach, feta, artichokes, roasted peppers)

It was super tasty! My favorite thing on the tray was the salad. Love me some artichokes and cheeeeese.

Then we walked some more around the Downtown Mall.

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Hm. K.

Stopped for dessert of course. More gelato 😀

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Mine on the left: cookies and cream and ‘chi0 (pistachio). Mom’s on the right: coconut and mango.

I nearly licked my cup clean and then I helped mom finish hers. No gelato left behind. I also love how the spoons were like baby paddles, because that means the gelato disappears less quickly 😉 It’s also safe to say that cookies and cream is my favorite ice cream flavor. I always forget how good it is!

As we were walking back to our car, I spotted a cute crepe shop called The Flat… And we got sucked in.

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We only had about half, don’t worry. 😉

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Mom wanted to try a savory crepe, and I told her she would be mostly on her own since I was stuffed with gelato. We ordered the “Greene Eggs” crepe with eggs, feta, and veggies. I had a few bites and it was fantastic! Mom only had a few bites too, so we took the rest back to the hotel for me to have for breakfast yesterday morning 🙂 (We have a fridge and microwave in our hotel room.)

Yeah, I was full that night.

Moves for Saturday: walking and walking and walking. My feet were hurtin’ for sure. I need to whip ’em into shape just to walk around campus. Can someone give me a foot massage first though?

Sunday

Moves for Sunday: this Travel WOD-ish. I say “ish” because I did the whole thing, but I didn’t do the rounds and exercises immediately one after another. I would do a round, take a break, do some burpees, take a break…It was just something to get moving! Plus a little bit of walking to and fro.

Lunch yesterday was at a place called Fig Bistro and Bar.

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My order: Blackened crab cake with a poached egg and cheddar grits

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Mom’s order: Eggs in avocado

We shared half and half with each other, and it was decent. Our items sounded really delicious when we read them on the menu, but the actual taste and texture of everything was meh.

After chilling out in the hotel room and putting a tiny dent into my homework, I left to meet up with two of my favorite bloggers!

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Kath

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Clare

I may or may not have been fan-girling on the inside. We met at Kath’s soccer game to chat for a little bit, and it was lovely. These two ladies have been so inspirational to me in my blogging journey, and they are just as sweet and cool in person as they are on their blogs.

All of my oatmeal? Inspiration from Kath.

My motivation to cut down on exercise and recover from my ED? Inspiration from Clare.

Thanks so much for meeting with me, Kath and Clare!

Following the blogger meet-up, I drove back to the hotel to procrastinate for an hour or so and then actually do homework for a bit. Mom and I weren’t very hungry by 7:30, but we decided to just take the 20 minute walk to the Downtown Mall for dinner. Bizou looked pretty good, so we grabbed a table al fresco. We ordered the two specials of the evening and shared half and half again.

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Mom’s: Panko-crusted trout with cauliflower au gratin and arugula salad

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Mine: Crab cakes (that’s right— I had crab cakes twice yesterday) with cheesy polenta and arugula salad

{I smell like fish right now}

Everything was tasty, but these crab cakes weren’t the best either. Too salty and mayonnaise-y. I’m a picky crab cake eater. My favorite things were the salad and the cheesy polenta! Cheeeeeese.

As fun as eating out can be, I miss my oats, avocado toast, and Greek yogurt. I have had a perpetual food baby on this trip.

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Travesty.

Wow, Charlottesville. I haven’t even gone to the admitted students’ day yet (it’s today), but we’re getting along pretty darn well. I can’t wait to see how I feel about UVA after Days on the Lawn today!

So tell me:

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Have you ever met bloggers in person?

What’s on your agenda this Monday?

 

Almond French Toast + Weekend at Binghamton {MIMM #24}

Happy President’s Day!

Hi, guys!

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day and a restful weekend. I have a crapton of marvelous things to share with you all from this weekend, so let’s get to it!

MiMM

Thank you to Katie for another marvelous linkup!

A lot of bloggers have been recapping their awesome V-day happenings, and I’ve been commenting on them about what my Valentine’s plans looked like:

French toast for breakfast

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To make this:

  1. Whisk one egg. Mix in a splash of milk (enough to turn the egg a pale yellow color), dash of cinnamon + nutmeg, and a scant ¼ tsp. of almond extract. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Soak 2 slices of hearty bread (day old/dried out preferably) in the mixture for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
  4. Add a small pat of butter or coconut oil into your heated skillet and add in the slices of bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut half a banana lengthwise and sear on the sides of the skillet along with the bread. About a minute per side.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with two more slices of bread (or however many slices until the egg mixture is all used up).
  7. Serve with desired toppings! (I love mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.)

This was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself and it rocked my socks off. Thanks, Alison. You’re welcome, Alison.

Homemade cinnamon rolls (This recipe for the rolls [minus the egg— I don’t think you need it!] This recipe for the frosting)

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I couldn’t find our rolling pin, so I just used my mom’s pestle and wrapped it in wax paper. Gotta do what ya gotta do.

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These definitely turned out JUMBO-sized, but as Sir Mix-a-lot and Arman said, “I like big buns…and I cannot lie.” They did sink a little once they cooled though. I didn’t actually have a whole one with frosting and all until last night, and mannnnn was it dreamy. Like the recipe says, they really do taste like Cinnabon! 

Babysitting

The only stressful part about this was driving to the house because of all the snow (and I got lost), but otherwise, this guy was the cutest Valentine’s date ever. He was also the most well-behaved baby I’ve ever taken care of! I even got to do yoga after he went to sleep. Yeah, I did yoga at someone else’s house. Guatever. It was my dance director’s place, so it’s not THAT weird.

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{I received his mom’s permission to post this}

I believe Valentine’s Day was a success!

Early Saturday morning, my mom and I hit the slushy, snowy roads for Vestal, NY since this weekend was Binghamton University’s admitted students day!

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Pre-driving fuel: Greek yogurt (I go through containers like it’s my job), half sliced banana, leftover French toast, chia, hemp, sunflower seed butter

It was really not a good time to be on the roads, but the police cars, salt trucks, and ten other travelers on the road kept us company. Luckily, Binghamton is not terribly far from where we live, so we made it there in fair time.

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After checking into our hotel, we found a Vietnamese restaurant through Yelp called Nhu Y that was about 30 steps away, so we ate lunch there. We needed some pho to hit the spot on such a dreary day.

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Mom and I shared a bowl of beef meatball pho and a lemongrass chicken dish that was delicious! Binghamton isn’t really known for having the most amazing food, but this wasn’t bad at all.

After lunch, we veg-ed out in our room. When I finally had an ounce of motivation to get out of those fluffy hotel beds, I went to the hotel exercise room to do something.

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There weren’t many options, so I just did a 45-minute incline walk on the treadmill while watching the Olympics. By the way, workout selfies will forever make me uncomfortable. Check out that mini lion-mane.

The rest of our evening consisted of Mass at the Binghamton Catholic center (so lovely!), a sushi dinner, and late-night shopping at an awesome supermarket called Wegmans. We actually went a little crazy at Wegmans because it was like Target + Trader Joe’s in one. A dangerous duo (imagine me saying that in an Australian accent).

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Beautiful Mass as the snow softly fell outside— it felt like Christmas!

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Vestal sushi is sub-par since we’re so spoiled with the sushi around our area.

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We’re bread hoarders. (We freeze them for later.)

The next day was the Binghamton University Open House!

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Hotel breakfast: Oatmeal square, nut bar, orange

The parking and check-in were very well-organized, which is much appreciated. My favorite part of the whole day was probably the Welcome session though. One of the all-male a cappella groups called “The Crosbies” entertained us while we waited for the event to start. They are incredibly talented and hilarious entertainers!

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At 11:00, they introduced the BU President to make the welcoming address. Apparently, university presidents are superstars.

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Dying to shake hands with him 😉

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After his speech, along with a few others from different faculty members/students, we were allowed to break into different groups to attend sessions that interested us. Since it was FREEZING outside and I had already taken a campus tour in August, I passed on that. I decided on a general information session and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences session.

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Of course, we tested out the campus food at lunch too.

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Sandwich made to order (chicken breast, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato on whole wheat) + minestrone soup

My meal was not too shabby, but the options in this dining hall seemed a lot more limited compared to that of University of Maryland. Other items available in this particular dining hall yesterday included pizza, made to order omelets and pancakes, savory breakfast/brunch foods, typical cafeteria hot foods (fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, etc.), and a salad bar.

Overall, my experience at the open house neither deterred me from Binghamton nor drew me to it. These are the main points I concluded from the weekend:

Pros: distance from home, value/price, community

Cons: academic programs may not be the best for my interest (physical therapy as of now), location is sort of out there

My mom and I agree that Binghamton University will probably not be the place for me. Right now, I think Maryland and Virginia are my top choices, and I’m visiting both in April. We shall see!

Ok, wow. Are you still reading this? 

This was definitely a longer post than usual, and most of you probably couldn’t care less about my college experience, but this weekend was definitely important in helping me discern my college decision.

Wait, I’m not done actually. So Blend Retreat 2014 tickets went on sale last night, and my mom and I are seriously considering going this year! If you don’t know what the Blend (blogger + friend = blend) Retreat is, it’s a blogger/blog-reader weekend retreat during which the attendees get to hang out, get active, get swag bags, and just have FUN. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers attend in the past, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to meet them in person!

You have no idea how excited I was to find out that my parents were on board with the trip. I could technically go by myself (I will have turned 18 just a week before the retreat— score), but my mom is totally up for going as well. The only thing that’s keeping us from registering right now is school. I have exams the Monday after we get back, and I’m just not sure if I could afford to go on a trip that weekend. It just depends on which subjects the exams are for, because then I can gauge how much pre-retreat-studying I should do. Schoooooool.

K, I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday, everyone 🙂

So tell me:

Tell me three things you did this weekend!

Are you planning on going to the Blend Retreat?!